Espressos of Faith offers another excerpt (below) of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day. One section of the book focuses on coffeehouse stories where life slows down to observation mode, and much can be reflected upon in both the quietness of being still and the white noise hum of sitting in a public space. A great amount of parenting is also done there—both my parenting of my own children and my listening to the Father parent me. Pull up a chair with me for a minute, and imagine (or remember) these moments with your own children. Take a minute to find some rest in your day. Thanks for joining me!
I enjoy being in a coffee shop for various reasons: to write, read, observe people, talk to a friend, treat someone to a pumpkin latte, etc. Of course, I can come up with almost any excuse to sit in one for a few hours. Really, just smelling the coffee alone calls me in like a beacon. I feel like I’ve finally made it to the mother ship when I smell fresh beans grinding or brewing. But some of my very best parenting moments also happen there. When a child has a particular issue to talk out, we can focus on each other better, away from home, in a different setting. If one of them has a challenging project, I will take that child for a muffin or decaf iced latte to help him or her focus and break down the task into smaller pieces. Several years ago, I took Chickie to a local coffeehouse to plan out her report on fairy tales. On other occasions, we have come just to de-stress and play some Skip-Bo®. During those times, the kids tend to share more of their lives with us.
When asked what she wanted for her upcoming birthday, Chickie’s reply was: “A Starbucks gift card.” I think my smile hit a world record. Girl after my own heart! Because the gift card doesn’t only mean coffee. It means coffee in a coffee shop with Mom or Dad. It means face-to-face time. It means much more than that, really. To me, to our family, it signifies: “Mom, I want to do one of your favorite things with you. I want to be in your hangout. I want to come into your cave. I want to share that with you, not just in consuming coffee but the experience. I want to be together.” Are there any better statements made to us relationally than when we find that connection with someone? That safe place?
At coffee time with Chickie, she stated: “Mom, this was very nice. I’m so glad we got to catch up with each other. We don’t always have time to go into all of this at home.” Aw, two coffees later, and she opened up about so much, topics that don’t get covered between homework battles and activities. I love it when kids feel heard. It makes all of the difference in a childhood, no matter what issues they face along the way. It heals my heart when she can reflect back like that. In those moments, I feel like I’ve made a deliberate choice to hear my kids and not let my own defenses shut them down, re-parenting the little Bonnie along the way as well. I love how God does that. He makes all things new.
2 Corinthians 5:17, Apostle Paul speaking
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I truly believe these café moments are what it would look like if we pulled up a chair to the table with God. He invites us to be new in relationship with Him, just as we hope our children and other dear ones give us that opportunity to start fresh with them, and they with us. I think He would want to talk to us whether we are playing Skip-Bo® or working on a project or just relaxing with a chai tea latte (a new passion of mine). He loves the conversation and hearing from us, just as we cherish those moments with our own children and loved ones.
Maybe we would open up more if we fully grasped that we might not have gotten yesterday right, but He still saves that seat for us. We can always be His guest at the table, when we are in Christ and ready to be made a new creation. I want my kids, and people in general, to feel that way about me, don’t you? I want them to see me reflect the unconditional love of the Father. If I continue to do some of my best parenting in a coffee shop with them, I want them to see that I, too, seek the very best Parent there is and that I cherish the moments I spend actively engaged with Him, always wanting more, never wanting to leave the table or our time together.